From: Technical University of Munich (TUM)
Published June 2, 2017 10:01 AM

Eco-label in exchange for less chemicals on rice fields

Money isn't always everything: Taiwanese rice farmers are willing to produce in a more environmentally friendly fashion if this would earn them an eco-label for their products. For such a label, they are even prepared to accept lower compensation payments for a reduction in the use of fertilizers. These were the findings of a study conducted by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) at the Chair Group for Agricultural Production and Resource Economics for agricultural enterprises. For this study, incentives for agri-environmental measures were investigated, such as more sustainable cultivation methods.

In order to achieve higher yields, chemical fertilizers are often excessively employed in Asian countries — to the great detriment of the environment. This leads to high amounts of nitrogen entering the groundwater, which is not only a health hazard for the population, but also negatively impacts the flora and fauna. At the same time, nitrogen contributes to the loss of biodiversity and accelerates climate change. The intensive application of fertilizers during rice cultivation has already led to the loss of numerous species in Asia, Australia, Western Europe, and in North and South America.

PROBLEM OF OVER-FERTILIZATION IN ASIAN COUNTRIES

This explains the widespread problem of over-fertilization encountered from China and South Korea to Vietnam and Taiwan. For the study conducted by the Chair Group for Agricultural Production and Resource Economics for agricultural enterprises at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), a team led by Professor Johannes Sauer investigated which incentives would be needed in order for farmers to use less chemical fertilizers. 

Read more at Technical University of Munich (TUM)

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